The Innovation Center is a business incubator that provides resources and guidance to startup companies located in Athens and the surrounding region. Created in 1983 by visionaries at Ohio University, the center was the first university-based business incubator in the State of Ohio and just the 12th in the United States.
Today, the Innovation Center is located in its custom-built 36,000 square foot facility on the west side of Athens and is a key player in fueling the economic development of Southeast Ohio. The center supports its clients with a considerable range of resources including professional office space, biotechnology laboratories, meeting space, onsite executive coaching, access to an expansive network of experts and key office amenities like front desk reception, a fully-equipped business center, high-speed internet, USPS address, parking, and more!
The impact of the Innovation Center can be seen in the success of our companies located throughout the region as well as through our annual Economic Impact Report. Take a look at the 2018 and 2017 reports.
The Innovation Center has received numerous honors and recognitions. Some of the most recent accolades include:
2019 Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year, InBIA
2019 Rural-Based Entrepreneurship Center of the Year, InBIA
2019 Best Support of Entrepreneurial Innovation, Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG)
2016 Rural Incubator of the Year, International Business Innovation Association (InBIA)
#3 Ranked University-Based Incubator in the United States, 2015-2017, UBI Global
The Innovation Center is part of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem with many University and regional collaborators that provide valuable business services. Descriptions of the services offered by our Ohio University partners can be found in the most recent Fostering an Innovation Ecosystem brochure.
Click on the links below to find out more about our ecosystem partners and how they support startups as well as established businesses.
ACEnet is a business incubator with a shared kitchen space to support food-based entrepreneurs. Its mission is to grow the regional economy by supporting entrepreneurs and strengthening sectors.
Athens Area Chamber of Commerce is a member-based organization that facilitates a strong business climate in Athens County by helping their member companies meet their full potential, and encouraging consumers to "Keep It Local".
Athens County Economic Development Council is a public-private partnership committed to increasing economic opportunity in Athens County by encouraging entrepreneurship, recruiting new businesses, and helping existing businesses grow and expand.
LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network provides expertise, training, and resources to the workforce, entrepreneurs, companies, and local communities in a 28-county region of Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
TechGROWTH Ohio helps technology companies take their ideas to market by enabling access to experts for every stage of business development and aligning resources to accelerate commercialization.
The Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship supports student entrepreneurs and innovators in all academic colleges.
The Ohio University Edison Biotechnology Institute pursues basic and applied research on health and medical disorders, with a focus on developing innovations that can benefit society through the creation of technologies and companies.
The Ohio University Procurement Technical Assistance Center assists area businesses seeking to sell goods and services to the local, state, and federal government.
The Small Business Development Center at Ohio University offers business assistance in all areas of start-up and operations, including building businesses, improving competitiveness, increasing revenues, solving problems, or managing the next stage of growth
The Ohio University Technology Transfer Office identifies innovations that should be patented and/or copyrighted and licensed to established and startup companies, to ensure that they benefit society.
Our Misson and Vision
Mission: The Innovation Center provides business services, resources, and flexible facilities, fostering entrepreneurship resulting in wildly successful companies and a dynamic prosperous region.
Vision: The regional economy will become more diversified, therefore more robust, as Innovation Center companies add higher-paying jobs helping the area incubate and sustain globally competitive companies who want to embrace knowledge-based innovation and an enhanced quality of life.